With simple household items, you can transform the holiday cards of the past into Christmas decorations of the present -- and create your family's own little recycling center in the process.
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Hang or display ornamental balls made from last year's greeting cards.
Photography: William Abranowicz2 of 8
Holiday Card Cones
Made from recycled holiday cards and construction paper, and filled with treats, a cone-shaped package will impress loved ones.
To create, draw an arc onto a corner of construction paper or card using a compass opened up as wide as it can go. Using a pair of pinking shears, cut inside the line. Roll the paper into a cone and staple; reinforce with tape along the inside seam. To decorate a plain paper cone, draw an oval (we used a stencil from an art-supply store) around a chosen image from a greeting card, and cut just inside the line with pinking shears. Glue the cutout to the front of the cone. Punch a hole on both sides of the cone, thread a ribbon through, and knot the ends.
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Recycle holiday cards as monogram labels for presents. With a pencil, kids can draw (or stencil) the recipient's initial onto a card, and cut it out. Punch a hole in the letter, and tie to gift with yarn or ribbon.
Photography: William Abranowicz4 of 8
Holiday Card Gift Tags
Glue designs snipped from holiday cards to store-bought or handmade gift tags and add charm to every package. Or cut the cards themselves into tags and punch a hole for ribbon (press on a sticker first to reinforce the hole).
Photography: William Abranowicz5 of 8
Holiday Card Gift Bags
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Photography: William Abranowicz6 of 8
Holiday Card Gift Boxes
Use your favorite holiday cards of the past to give cardboard boxes a cheery makeover.
Place the lid on top of a card. Using a ruler, draw an outline that's about 1/4 inch outside the lid. Cut just inside the line with a pair of pinking shears. Use a glue stick to attach the cutout to the lid; the card will extend over the box's edges (be sure it's centered over the lid before pressing down). Repeat to cover the bottom of the box.
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Holiday cards make perfect tree decorations: dazzling and delicate yet impossible to break. In a few steps, turn cards into darling globes that lock together, ready to twirl.
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Good Wish Tree
Fill the house with holiday cheer by hanging holiday card cutouts from branches in a vase.
Cut recycled holiday cards into small rectangles and punch a hole in one end. For the blank side, invite guests and family to write notes of thanks and hope. Hang on fallen branches displayed in a vase.